I love teen movies. I love them like aging, horny house wives love Fifty Shades of Grey. I love them like fifteen year olds love to smoke cigarettes because they think it makes them look cool (which it totally does). I love them like the entire female gender loves Magic Mike, yet can’t tell you what the plot is. I know what you’re thinking; Hashtag NoDuh, right? I just thought it necessary to remind everyone of my qualifications for writing this phenomenal post. And it’s not only teen movies, oh no, it’s also television shows. From My So-Called Life to Pretty Little Liars. I live and die by teen culture. It’s just a fascinating time in your life that truly defines who you are as an adult, and it’s the last time when you have zero responsibility and your entire life ahead of you. And now that I’m done spewing that line of bullshit, let’s begin.
The “mean girl” is a staple of teen culture. She represents all of our insecurities and everything we wish we could be. She calls you out on all your shit and does you a huge favor by teaching you how to toughen up and deal with it. Life is not perfect. Whether it’s in high school, college, or in a real world job, there will always be someone trying to tear you down and test you. She is the mean girl, and she is a God. Sorry, do-gooding celebrities, but sometimes things don’t just “get better.” Mean girls don’t grow up…they just get older. To start off, I want to give an overview of my absolute FAVORITE mean girls throughout the years. While there’s way too many for me to fully get into, I’ll give you the cliffsnotes version.
Chris Hargensen (Carrie, 1976)
Chris is arguably the grand-mamma of all high school mean girls, brought to infamy by pulling a little tiny string that sent gallons of blood rocketing down onto the prom queen. Buxom, blonde, and sucking off the school bad boy at the drive-in in between scheming different ways to torment that loser, Carrie White, Chris is the bully you wish you had the pleasure of being picked on by. And boy was she up front and brutally honest in her bullying, from leading a parade of tampon throwing, to telling Carrie so eloquently that she “eats shit.” Hardly a Regina George-esque half a virgin, she used her sexuality to lure Billy into, not only playing a prank on Carrie, but slaughtering a slew of pigs and draining them of all their blood. How fucked up is that shit? Kill the pig, Billy. Kill the pig now! Yeah, I totally just quoted Carrie: The Musical. While 1976 was not the last time we would see Miss Hargensen (she later appeared in the 1988 stage musical, the 2002 TV remake, the 2012 stage musical revival, and is scheduled to be remade yet again in 2013), Nancy Allen’s portrayal was the definition of iconic. Like every phenomenal movie villain, she eventually had to pay for all her cruelty towards that total fug, Carrie, but her legacy will live on by the high bar set for decades of mean girls to come.
Heather Chandler (Heathers, 1988)
I know, right? What a Mega Bitch that Heather Chandler was. And yet, everyone still wanted her as a friend or a fuck. Heather Chandler ruled the halls of Westerburg High with a never-ending supply of intimidating shoulder pads, a dead-pan condescending glare, and a foul mouth that would make the filthiest of truckers blush. While she would have rather you fuck her gently with a chainsaw than be seen hanging with the geek squad, Heather was not above making sure Martha Dumptruck had enough shower nozzle masturbation material for weeks. Heather was also no dummy. She knew damn well that life was all about being seen at the right places with the right people, and wasn’t above giving a good felating to secure her spot on the fast track to the college in crowd as well while attending a Remington frat party. After all, she’s worshiped at Westerburg, and she’s only a Junior. The only sad thing about my beloved Heather Chandler is her far too short of screen time. Dead and buried less than halfway through the movie, one can only wonder what mean girl heights she would have hit if she made it to Senior year. Still, the late Kim Walker’s pitch perfect portrayal has branded Heather Chandler as one of the top teen loves of my life.
Courtney Shayne (Jawbreaker, 1999)
First, I guess, you need to know something about her. The beautiful one. The leader of the flawless four. She totally ruled. Courtney was NOT getting fucked because she was nice enough to play a clever little prank on girlfriend. But then she accidentally killed Liz…she killed the teen dream. Deal with it. I mean, it’s not her fault that Liz Purr, the very picture of teenage perfection, clearly had NO gag reflex and sucked down that jawbreaker faster than a sugar fiending fat girl on the rag. Ditching Marci “Foxy” Fox’s advice of simply grappling the jawbreaker out with eye-lash curlers, Courtney does what any fantastic best friend would. Toss the body back in bed, spread her legs, and stage a rape. Awe, I wish I had friends who would do that for me. Like any true blue mean girl, Courtney is fucking SICK at makeovers, turning Fern Fucking Mayo into a glammed up Frankenstein monster, known as Vylette, only to tear the bitch back down when she bites the hand that feeds her. But public humiliation, blackmail, and murder only scratch the surface of this Queen Bitch. Courtney was the definition of self-aware. She knows how the human mind works, making sure NEVER to eat at lunch period, even if your mother packed you a four star fucking culinary masterpiece. It only gives others ammo. And that life is all about living in the now. Dane Sanders may grow up to get married and coach little league, but she could give a shit. He’s the perfect piece of prom date nostalgia to have a yearbook photo with, and THAT is what’s important. As played by the woman who was born for the part, Rose McGowan, Courtney is the living definition of confidence and control. After all, It’s not just any mean girl who can make the captain of the football team suck off an ice pop.
Kathryn Merteuil (Cruel Intentions, 1999)
It’s not easy being the Marsha Fucking Brady of the upper-east side, but Kathryn plastered on her fake smile and secretly out loud destroyed lives while maintaining her facade as a parents’ wet dream. Unlike other high school mean girls, Kathryn mastered the art of deception. Every cruel intention her wicked little mind could conjure up would be carried out in a way that could never be traced back to her. Everybody loved her, and she intended to keep it that way. From turning the innocent, little Cecile into the premiere tramp of the New York area, to making a wager with her step-brother, Sebastian, that could end with her giving him something he’s been obsessing about ever since their parents got married. I mean, come on, she told her STEP-BROTHER he could put it ANYWHERE. That HAS to be illegal. If manipulating others and mind fucking everyone was an art, Kathryn would be the world’s most renowned artist. Completely loathing the fact that she had to act like Mary Sunshine 24/7 just to be considered a lady, Kathryn made sure that, in her personal life, she made no qualms about being sexually generous…except with Sebastian. He’s just a toy. A little toy she likes to play with. And unfortunately, she doesn’t fuck losers.
Now take a good look at that list. What do you notice? That’s right, the latest characters on the list are more than a decade in the past. And I know what you’re thinking; What about Regina George from 2004’s Mean Girls? Don’t get me wrong. I love Mean Girls. It’s a fantastic movie, and Regina George is a great character. She’s just not, well, mean enough. Aside from spreading rumors and talking about people behind their backs, she never actually did anything.
Which is fine. That movie wasn’t trying to be dark and cruel (though I wouldn’t mind if it was!). The problem is, NO movie or TV show has walked down the dark side of the teen moon lately. Our society is so obsessed with the notion of high school bullying and suicide that parents have created this child-proof society where nothing bad can ever happen to their precious little angels. They can no longer be exposed to movies that might, in a way, glorify being mean. The country is filled to the brim with bubble kids who are growing up this sheltered, protected life. Kid fails a test? Call up the teacher and scream at them until they give them a passing grade. Kid gets picked on for being different? Sue the the school district and make a national issue out of it.
I’m not trying to make light of the fact that kids who get bullied have killed themselves. That’s terrible and absolutely tragic. But bullying has always been around. I got bullied in high school on a pretty regular basis for being overweight. And you know what? It made me adapt a healthier lifestyle. And while the catchphrase “it gets better” is a phenomenal thought, it’s not entirely true. There are bullies in college. There are bullies in the work place. There will ALWAYS be those people who prey on others. It’s not that things get better, it’s that, as adults, we have more control of coming in contact with these people and are more able to control our emotions and actions. Instead of protecting kids, we’re breeding them for this life where rejection and failure are non-existent. What do you think is going to happen when they get into the real world? We’re setting them up to be completely annihilated. The proverbial “mean girl” – the thing in our lives that teaches us that life isn’t fair all the time, and tells us to deal with it – is being erased from our culture.
However, I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. A bright spot that shows me that maybe it’s not too late for the mean girl to make a return to our society. Someone who gives me hope that this child-proof society doesn’t have to be permanent. And that person is….
Sadie Saxton (Awkward, 2011-present)
Dear Sadie, you are perfection. You’re welcome. Love, John.